The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has said that it will intensify its efforts in the fight against the menace of illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC Mohammed Lawal disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He said fighting against illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism was one of the core mandates of the NSCDC, adding that officers of the corp had been fully mobilized to ensure that the Niger Delta creeks were rid of the activities of illegal oil refining.
Apart from untold damaged caused to the natural environment and economic sabotage to the nation, he said illegal refining of petroleum product and pipeline vandalism had resulted in the wanton destruction of lives.
“The influx of adulterated petroleum products in the market has caused grave consequences on the users, most people have lost their lives while using adulterated kerosene, while explosions from pipeline vandalisation has also killed many people.
“Sometimes, petroleum products are also diverted by these criminals and their cronies to cause scarcity of products. We in the NSCDC are poised to ensure that these criminalities are tackled”, he said.
The NSCDC boss said from last year till now, over 75 suspects have been arrested, while two convictions have been made ranging from six months to 16 years imprisonment.
He further explained that all cases involving the suspects were in court, while investigations were still ungoing for others before prosecution.
He called for a collective approach towards tackling illegal oil refining and pipeline vandalism, stating that the NSCDC was working in synergy with other agencies to curb the menace.
Lawal emphasised the need for public enlightment and sensitisation on the ills of illegal bunkering and urged the perpetrators to desist from the act or face the wrath of the law.
He called on the media to contribute its quota to the fight against the menace, through adequate reportage and information dissemination.